Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Cleaning Up the Area
Tsurumi, Yokohama - They used to call places like this toruko buro, or Turkish baths. Then some time during the 1980's understandably offended Turks made a big stink about it. After a nationwide contest in Japan to find a better name for these establishments, they were soon rechristened sopurando, or Soaplands. They are what people in the U.S. might euphemistically call "massage parlors." The area adjacent to my local train station used to be dotted with these places but in recent years, due to stiffer regulations, they have been losing ground to pachinko and slot machine parlors. Surprisingly, or not, newly built houses located nearby this garish edifice sell for a pretty penny. Most of the soaplands may be gone but somebody is still cleaning up.